Simmons Seizes Victory at Oswego

By – Chris Porter
Photos – Jim Feeney

Volney’s Jason Simmons earned his second small block supermodified win Saturday night at the Oswego Speedway, staving off multiple challenges from series points leader, Andrew Schartner. Snagging the lead away from teammate, Barry Kingsley, at the drop of the green, Simmons would lead all 30 laps en route to reaching victory lane in the feature event, co-sponsored by Oswego County Today.

Just one week after the two teammates tangled, resulting in 18th and 19th-place finishes, Simmons and Kingsley would bounce back in style, earning podium finishes. It was Kingsley’s second top-five finish of the season. Not only was it the first top-five showing for Simmons in 2014, but it was the first time he’s been able to land his No. 98 Hedger Racing Chassis in the top 10 all year. A third-place finisher in 2013’s final points standings, a rough start to 2014 finally gave way. Listen to Jason Simmons:

Simmons led Kingsley, Mark Castiglia, Jon Tesoriero and Steve Abt to the line to complete the maiden circuit around the Port City’s lakeside oval. By the fifth lap, Simmons had built a comfortable five-car advantage over teammate, Kingsley.

Kreig Heroth busted into the top five on lap No. 9, passing Abt, but would get caught behind the suddenly slowing No. 47 machine of Tesoriero. Abt would move back around Heroth as both would advanced one position following the No. 47’s demise.

Having started 11th on the grid, North Carolina invader, Schartner, was already knocking on the door of the top five by the 12th lap. On lap No. 13, he put his No. 18 to the outside of Heroth to take over fifth. One lap later, he would conquer fourth from Abt, mirroring the previous high-side move.

Up front, Kingsley had battled his way back up to the rear bumper of Simmons. Poised to take a crack at the top spot, his opportunity would be put on hold after the yellow flag was waved for a spin by ninth-place running Alex Hoag.

Halfway through, Simmons led Kingsley, Castiglia, Schartner and Abt. Heroth, Jack Patrick, JJ Andrews, Mike Bond and Tim Gareau completed the top 10.

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Simmons was solid at the point on the ensuing restart. While there was no challenge for the lead, Schartner was pressing Castiglia for third. Another outside move between turns three and four put his No. 18 squarely behind Kingsley. However, before he could make a bid for the runner-up spot, a quick yellow would fly for David LaTulip’s heavily smoking No. 27.

Schartner would take aim on Kingsley’s right side on the restart. The second-place running No. 91 held him off, but only for a single trip around Oswego’s fast five-eighths mile. Schartner would complete the pass on the 18th lap to take over the position.

For the third time in as many completed laps, the caution lights would flash after a would-be simple spin by Mike Bruce, turned into an “OFN,” after his No. 22 was clocked by rookie Scott Black’s No. 23. Both cars exited via the hook.

The season’s most serious accident took place just one lap after the ensuing restart. Battling for fourth, Castiglia and Abt came together in turn No. 3. Bond was in the midst of diving under Patrick’s No. 9 and came into the third turn hot.

Heroth slowed to avoid the tangle in front of him, but Bond climbed up and over his No. 04, launching into the air. Bond’s No. 74 would land atop Castiglia’s No. 69, with tremendous impact.

Alert and responsive, Bond and Castiglia were each transported to area hospitals. Bond reportedly suffered a back injury. His driving status for next week is in great doubt. An update on Castiglia’s condition was not available, but he’s reportedly been released.

With the leader board taking a hit, Simmons would lead Schartner, Kingsley, Heroth and Patrick back to racing. Andrews, Josh Kerr, Cameron Rowe, Anthony Losurdo and Dan Abt filled out the top 10.

The top two would pull away on the race’s final restart. Schartner went to work on finding a path to the lead around Simmons. With no one able to challenge Schartner’s low side, the No 18 was free to take multiple outside looks on the Simmons No. 98. Chances on laps 23, 24, 25 and 26 came up short.

Simmons continued to hit his marks and would not give way. Schartner would give it a final go on the white-flag lap, but Simmons would reach the checkered flag first.

Schartner’s second-place run was his fifth top-five finish in as many races this season. Listen to Andrew Schartner:

Winning his qualifying heat earlier in the evening, Kingsley would hold on to earn his second podium finish of 2014. Listen to Barry Kingsley:

Crossing the line with tire marks atop his roll cage from the incident with Bond, Heroth finished in fourth place. Listen to Kreig Heroth:

Having looked mighty quick in his heat, Patrick raced his No. 9 Mopar-powered small block super to a fifth-place finish. Listen to Jack Patrick:

Pathfinder Bank Small Block Super 30
: 1. Jason Simmons (98), 2. Andrew Schartner (18), 3. Barry Kingsley (91), 4. Kreig Heroth (04), 5. Jack Patrick (9), 6. Josh Kerr (8), 7. Anthony Losurdo (1), 8. Cameron Rowe (77), 9. Dan Abt (57), 10. Camden Proud (54), 11. Jesse Bearup (02), 12. Greg O’Connor (90), 13. Dalton Doyle (01), 14. Alex Hoag (73), 15. Steve Abt (67), 16. JJ Andrews (93), 17. David LaTulip (27), 18. Mark Castiglia (69), 19. Mike Bond (74), 20. Tim Gareau (5), 21. Mike Bruce (22), 22. Cameron Black (23) 23. Jon Tesoriero (47)

Heat race wins went to Patrick, Castiglia and Kingsley.